10 Updates

Why Is The U.S. Olympic Committee Tax-Exempt?

Feb 16 2014, 12:12pm CST | by

Every two years, I sit in front of my TV watching the Olympics . Like clockwork, in the midst of some competition I can’t understand, my mind wanders to tax wonkdom and I ask myself: Why is the U.S...

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22 weeks ago

Why Is The U.S. Olympic Committee Tax-Exempt?

Feb 16 2014, 12:12pm CST | by

Every two years, I sit in front of my TV watching the Olympics . Like clockwork, in the midst of some competition I can’t understand, my mind wanders to tax wonkdom and I ask myself: Why is the U.S. Olympic Committee a tax exempt organization?

The law says tax exempt status is granted to groups that “foster national or international amateur sports competition.” But do the hyper-marketed modern games even remotely fit the ideal of amateur sports? Sure, some athletes who represent the U.S. are amateurs but a great many others are highly paid professionals or marketing magnets. Snowboarder Shaun White–who won no medals– makes a reported $8 million-a-year in endorsements.

And then there is USOC itself. By almost any standard, it is a commercial enterprise. It exists primarily to help organize a bi-annual made-for-TV entertainment extravaganza.  Yes, it provides some support for athletes (though surprisingly little). But its real business is marketing itself and playing its part in a two-week orgy of athletic commercialization.

USOC’s total revenue for 2012 (the last publicly available data) was $353 million. Of that, $263 million, or nearly 75 percent, was generated by broadcast rights, trademark income, and licensing agreements, according to its financial statement. About $46 million came from (mostly corporate) contributions.

How did the committee spend that money in 2012? Its total expenses were $249 million. Nearly $21 million went to fundraising, $17 million to sales and marketing,  $3 million to public relations, and $14 million to administrative and general expenses.

Of what was left, about $74 million went to “member support,” or to fund individual National Governing Bodies such as the US Ski & Snowboard Association, USA Track & Field, US Speedskating and the like.

How much went to direct support for athletes? It’s hard to tell but according to one estimate, it was less than 6 percent of total USOC spending. Top-ranked athletes get monthly stipends ranging from $400 to $2,000. Others get nothing. Athletes have access to Olympic training centers though most have to pay to use and stay at them and therefor don’t. A watchdog group called the U.S. Athletic Trust has a nice explanation here , though it reported on USOC expenses from 2009-2011.

About $24 million went to support U.S. Paralympics, and $4 million to sports science and sports medicine.

And USOC paid its senior staff handsomely. A dozen of its top executives made $250,000 or more in 2012, and its CEO, Scott Blackmun, received $965,000. After all that, it still had nearly $100 million in surplus revenue.

To be fair, USOC isn’t the only sports behemoth to enjoy tax-exempt status. The National Football League, the National Hockey League, the Professional  Golfers Association, and other big-bucks professional sports leagues are also tax-exempt–though under a different code subsection than USOC.  Last year, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) introduced a bill to take away the tax-exemption for these pro outfits. It has gone nowhere.

USOC is somehow different. Perhaps it’s because it so successfully clings to the myth of the amateur athlete who competes for the love of sport, and not the big bucks. Or perhaps it’s because of the way it panders to the cheap made-for TV patriotism we saw the other day when a team of professional U.S. hockey players beat a team of professional Russian hockey players in an exciting, but probably meaningless, all-star game.

But reading through its financials, USOC sure looks like a business. Yes, it probably does foster enough international amateur competition to satisfy the law, but I’m still left with the question I had as I tried to figure out what the heck slopestyle is: Why does the government grant tax-exempt status to businesses like USOC?

- See more at the Tax Policy Center

Source: Forbes Business

 
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10

6 weeks ago

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Jun 9 2014 7:54am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

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KUALA LUMPUR: About RM47 million of contributions in the Teachers Provident Fund (KWSG) still remain unclaimed, the Dewan Rakyat was told ...
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6 weeks ago

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6 weeks ago

MH370 Tragedy: Hisham: RM27.6 mil spent on 1st phase of SAR

Jun 9 2014 2:11am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia spent some RM27.6 million in its first phase of the search operations for missing Malaysia Airline flight MH370, said Acting Transport Mi ...
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Update
6

6 weeks ago

9.1m litres of diesel seized in a month

Jun 8 2014 1:11am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

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PUTRAJAYA: The Domestic Trade, Cooperatives, and Consumerism ministry has seized some 9.1 million litres of diesel and property worth RM58 million since mounting ‘Operasi Diesel Selatan’ in the sou ...
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Update
5

6 weeks ago

Girl, 9, awarded RM2.78m compensation for medical negligence

Jun 6 2014 4:56am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

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KUALA LUMPUR: A nine-year-old girl who suffered brain damage during her birth at a government hospital was awarded over RM2.78 millio ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
4

6 weeks ago

Malaysia's total trade in April up 12pc

Jun 5 2014 11:52pm CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia's total trade in April 2014 rose by 12 per cent from a year ago to RM123.86 billion due to growing trading activities, International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mu ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
3

6 weeks ago

Works Ministry to spend RM20m for upgrading works at 50 accident black spots

Jun 4 2014 11:35pm CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

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JOHOR BARU: The Works Ministry will implement upgrading works at 50 accident prone locations in the country that have been identified this year involving an allocation of RM20 m ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
2

6 weeks ago

Najib launches loan scheme for Ramadan traders

Jun 4 2014 10:24pm CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

EurAsia Cup presented by DRB-HICOM - Day One
PUTRAJAYA: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak today launches RM45 million Ramadan Ba ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
1

6 weeks ago

Residents bring up objection against Kidex to Suhakam

Jun 4 2014 4:49am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

PETALING JAYA: A group of 20 Petaling Jaya residents held a meeting with the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) over their objection against the proposed RM2.2 billi ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 

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